Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another Failed Experiment

No.  Not the diet.  Still working on that.  This one is a new med I tried Monday.  One of my holistic docs decided to try me on an alpha-lipoic acid IV.  I don't know the dosage but it was the standard starting dosage.  The nurse told me that she didn't know anyone that had any side effects from it and it was considered very safe.  It even helped a lot of people.  But I digress.  I need to back up a little temporally....

I saw both of my holistic doctors the other week.  They both ordered blood work but I had to be fasting.  I had already eaten so I figured I would do the fasting bloodwork prior to my Monday IV.  We got there ten minutes early, just enough time to have the blood drawn.  Of course the one and only nurse had gone to lunch and I couldn't get it done.  Poop.  On to the IV.

Now my glutathione IVs last about 15-20 mins.  So I had brought yogurt and cashews for a snack and I was going to eat a real meal when I got home about 3pm.  As soon as I got settled in the cushy chair, I had my snacks and the nurse came in.  She told me that the lipoic acid IV takes an hour and a half.  Rats.  I was going to be cranky and starving by that point.  Oh well.  I'll deal.

We got chatting and she informed me that the ALA had no side effects and people had done well on it.  She has been doing this for decades so I trust her opinion on these matters.  The IV went in fine and the ALA infusion was uneventful.  I felt fairly normal for a trip to Cambridge.  Tired.  Slightly dizzy but this was normal for me.

On the ride home my friend, who has been driving me for weeks, noticed that I was getting a little snippy.  I said I was very hungry and my blood sugar was probably dropping.  The ride home was without incident.  She dropped me off around 4pm and we said our goodbyes.

I made myself the last egg in the house and a piece of toast and a cup of tea.  I was still starving but I hadn't gone shopping so we were short on food.  All I had was a freezer full of rock hard slabs of meat.  Not something that can be thrown together for a quick meal.  Suddenly all the energy drained out of me and I HAD to lie down.  This is not uncommon for me.  Particularly after traveling and having my eating schedule seriously interfered with.  I enjoyed an hours quiet rest.  After which I forced myself to get up.  I still felt really lousy and knew my blood sugar was still off.  Okay.  I decided to give it a kick in the pants since I wouldn't be eating until hubs got home and took me out to dinner.  I made a Nutella sandwich.  Lots of sugar.  And a big glass of milk.  More sugar.  I should feel sort of better right???

We got the restaurant and now I felt nauseous and my guts were starting to hurt.  Uh oh.  Was it the milk?  Was it the sugar?  We ordered dinner and our salads came.  I ate but was feeling worse not better.  The main course came and I forced myself to eat.  My guts were in full rebellion mode by this point.  What did I do??  Was the milk bad??  Too much sugar??  I felt much worse than my normal sugar crashes and food always fixes them.  What the heck was wrong??

We drove to the supermarket.  The plan was to do our grocery shopping.  The list was in my head so hubs couldn't do this alone.  I needed to go with him.  However, by the time we pulled into the parking lot I was on the verge of throwing up.  I felt so sick.  My back was screaming in pain.  My guts were roiling.  My muscles were cramping.  My intestines were cramping.  He came to my door to help me out of the truck and I just burst into tears.  I couldn't do it.  I was so angry at being so sick I can't even get pushed around the market in my wheelchair.  When is this going to stop!?!  He hugged me and told me to stay put.  He got the eggs and mayo that were needed for the next day and rushed me home.  I took aspirin and settled into my sofa sloth pile of pillows.

He went out to run one more errand and I asked for some ginger ale.  Now I don't normally drink store soda due to the high fructose corn syrup in it but I needed something to settle my stomach which was still doing contortions.  The soda did the trick.  I started to feel better.  Of course now I was hopped up on sugar but my guts settled down to the occasional rumble and my muscles were no longer cramping up.  I was feeling somewhat normal.

So what happened??  I did a little research and it turns out that ALA can cause a serous drop in blood sugar levels.  Apparently I had gone fairly hypoglycemic but because it was drug induced rather than insulin induced the small amounts of sugar didn't work.  It wasn't until I drank the whole soda that I started to feel better.  I also think the aspirin had something to do with it as well.  I should have gone to the hospital but rational thought doesn't work too well during a sugar crash.  Also with this damned illness it can be difficult to determine if it is the CFS that has gone wonky or something else.

I was feeling guilty for eating so much sugar last night.  But after I found out about the severe drop in blood sugar from the ALA I figure it probably saved me a trip to the ER if not saved my life outright.  I was only a few steps away from passing out.  No more ALA IVs for me!


  1. Investigate everything before doing anything when it comes to drugs of any kind. This includes herbs, holistic, RX'ed. etc. It saved me this week. Though I'm battling it. Be careful on your journey to be well. Hugs.

  2. I'm pretty good about checking out any meds any of the western medicine docs prescribe. I guess I have to be more vigilant with the holistic docs.